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Partner has birth trauma but I want a free standing birth center w/ a CPM

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I got pregnant the first month I was with my partner, so we had no time to discuss parenting philosophies or anything. He really wanted me to terminate the pregnancy (and I mean REALLY wanted me to). I chose not to, and we had a really rough start with a week or two of us not talking at all, or seeing each other. I therefore went into this assuming I was on my own.


During that time period I switched from the CNM I was seeing (who I absolutely LOVED... the hospital not so much though my friend managed a completely natural and unaugmented birth there) to a free standing birth center operated by a CPM.


My partner is now living with me, as is his 19 year old son. Our relationship is dysfunctional when it comes to communication on this pregnancy, and I chalk that up to how absolutely demanding (and rather emotionally abusive) he was at the beginning. I think I have some trauma from that, honestly.


Anyway, he doesn't know (mostly because he doesn't listen) that I'm having it at a birth center. I tried to show him the website once, and explained that they have birth tubs instead of pain medication and all he said was "I hope you like pain". :irked


The other night I discussed with him that I had started out at the birth center but was going to have to switch due to medicaid problems. However, today I spoke to the birth center and they are willing to work with me on a financial payment so that even though the hospital birth would be "free" (and I'm totally unemployed at the moment), the birth center is giving me until 12 weeks postpartum to pay (and I'm 22 weeks right now). So, its doable.


My partner's son was born at 7 months. His mother was a smoker and young (she was 15). She went into labor a week or two before she had him and they were able to give her steroid shots to mature Steven's lungs, and something to postpone her labor. When Steven was born, my partner had to attend infant CPR classes and Steven spent the first two weeks of his life in an incubator unable to be held or even touched. He could not regulate his body temperature, and had trouble breathing. He was about 4 lbs.


I have had no issues with this pregnancy other than a SCH that bled out early. We live 90 minutes from the birth center and 1 hour 10 from the hospital. So the drive is not significantly different. The birth center itself is located less than 1/10th of one mile from a VERY good hospital.


My partner merely says that he thinks the hospital is the safest place to have a baby. His examples were things like what if the baby is born still (this is not something a hospital can help with anyway).


I don't want to subject my boyfriend to something that is seriously upsetting to him. I also don't want to compromise my birth plans and birth in a hospital strictly for him (although I am not opposed to a hospital, its just not my first choice). He is mostly unwilling to be educated, and has some seriously messed up ideas (like that 1 in 50 births something goes horribly wrong).


What is so sad about all this is I was a midwifery student years ago who had nothing but faith in women's bodies, and their ability to birth. I am empathetic to him, but I wish he could see how different this could be and how bonding it could be. But I can't seem to speak up (I'm not sure why I have such trouble speaking up to him) and he seems unwilling to listen.


Do I just tell him, flat out, I'm having this baby at the birth center? Do I switch to the hospital with the nurse midwife I originally had and have this baby without any debt (medicaid will cover).


This has been emotionally a very difficult pregnancy, and I'm really conflicted. Everyone tells me to do what I feel is best, but I can't figure it out. I know if I have the baby in a birth center, and something goes wrong then I will not be able to handle that well at all because of my boyfriend. I'm not reassured by hospital statistics though, but if something went wrong there, at least he'd be off my case.



post #2 of 9

There's just so much going on in this situation.


Focusing purely on the birth logistics, here's what's making me scratch my head:

You say the birth center is 90 minutes away, and the hospital is an hour and ten minutes (70 minutes) away.  But the birth center is less then 1/10th of a mile from a VERY good hospital.  Why is that hospital not on the list of places to consider giving birth?  Not all hospitals are the same, you hate the first one (despite loving the CNM there), but might you like this other one better? 


On a less purely logistical angle:

You are having a tempestuous relationship with someone who emotionally abused you early in pregnancy.  You have major communication problems.  Abuse often begins or escalates during pregnancy.  For these reasons, I think you would be safer in a hospital. 


Free-standing birth centers are a lot like having a homebirth in someone else's house.  There will be no security.  I don't think you should expect your BF to be a supportive birth partner (even if he was 100% the world's greatest guy, his prior trauma may make it hard for him to be helpful).  If you want to tell your boyfriend to leave the birth center, you will have maybe a midwife or two to help you enforce that, and no more.  If you tell your BF to leave the hospital, security will usher him out and he will not be permitted back in without your permission.  Hospitals will have much better access then the birth center to resources for victims of abuse, should you need them. 


I think it's unlikely that you would have a positive bonding experience around birth with someone who has already subjected you to emotional abuse, and with whom you don't feel able to discuss your pregnancy.  I think you'd be better off saving the birth center fee and keeping it for emergency money. 

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'll respond to the rest later, but I wanted to clarify on the very good hospital comment. I haven't actually been to the hospital near the birth center except to have blood work drawn. I know the midwife transfers out to them and likes them. She did not like the hospital I was originally at, although I think I would be fine there.


I do think I am going to switch for many reasons, but I feel like I'm abandoning my midwife!


I'm not worried about abuse from my partner and I can't imagine a situation where I would ask him to leave. I know escalation during pregnancy is common, but that has not been my case. He talks about the baby far more than I do, because I still can't get over how much he didn't want me to continue the pregnancy. He actually seems happy to be having a daughter. This situation is super complex, I won't deny that.

post #4 of 9

Are you really going to be able to scrape up the cash to pay for this birth? You're 22 weeks pregnant and unemployed. Do you think you will get a job before the birth? That can be hard to do while pregnant. And also hard to put aside extra money. Then 12 weeks postpartum... well, you're looking at going back to work with a really new baby, and having to pay for day care. Again, will you be able to put aside that extra money for the birth? I would look into the alternate hospital. I think there would be a big benefit to not having that payment hanging over your head. 

post #5 of 9

Given the way you've described your relationship, I would not be making any decisions about the birth based on what he wants. You only get to have this baby once; I would recommend doing it where and how you want to.

I do think I am going to switch for many reasons, but I feel like I'm abandoning my midwife! 


Caregivers have people switch all the time. Again, don't make your decision for someone else, make it for you.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

I should clarify that I'm basically unemployed rather than fully (I wrote that first post in a huge hurry to try to make it to class!). I work about 7 hours a week in a greenhouse (and full time in the spring) and so that this would be pretty much ALL my income, but that its doable. I'm also taking two independent study classes that will have about 700 in grant money. I am waiting to hear back about a job at a dialysis center, but if I don't get that I don't plan to go back to work. I want to become a nurse midwife, and already have most of my ADN credits done other than the clinical part. I was admitted to the program but got pregnant so put that on hold for a semester. Next semester I plan to take one evening class that meets two days a week in the evening and I have child care planned for that. Nursing program would begin in August, by which point my baby would be about 8 months old and I would feel more comfortable finding day care at that point.


While it is tough, I do believe I may have painted my boyfriend in the most negative way possible which was not my intention. He isn't the greatest man on earth, we're not going to married and likely won't be together forever. I'm not going to make excuses for him about certain things he does that are truly inexcusable, but the pressure to not have the baby did make "some" sense even though he went about it in the most shitty way he possibly could.


I'm unwilling to compromise on certain things such as homeschooling, breastfeeding, using mostly cloth diapers, or circumcision had this baby been a boy (its a girl!), but where I birth seems to be a compromise I can live with. I think I can get the natural birth I want in the hospital, my friend who had a natural birth in that hospital is agreeing to attend with me, and I LOVED the midwife who may or may not be on call when I go into labor but there are only five midwives and none of them really strike me as OMG I don't want to birth with HER!!


So, I do think, in all honesty, it will be a HUGE relief not having that 1000 dollars (which I realize isn't a ton of money) hanging over my head. I could buy diapers, a breast pump, etc.


I'm not sure what I was looking for with my post. I think partially its that this pregnancy has been emotionally taxing on me, and switching providers at this point is another stress. I also spent two years in midwifery school (to be a CPM) and always saw myself as having home births. I had actually started to transition toward nurse midwifery before I got pregnant, and I guess I'm just mourning something I was so passionate about, but am not sure is right for me after all. Its all confusing.

post #7 of 9
If he isn't willing to educate himself I would give him zero say in making that decision. It would be another thing is he was at least somewhat informed, but if he can't even make a small amount of effort to do some reading that seems like a huge red flag to me. It sounds like you have made your decision, and financially it will be easier for you so that's good. And if you are happy with the decision then go for it and I hope it's wonderful!
post #8 of 9

^^^That's not the red flag I see here, personally. My husband is great and overall very supportive and involved as a partner and parent, but doing reading on his own about what to expect during birth was just not his thing. We took a Bradley class together so that he could have the information. He certainly wasn't unwilling to be involved, but he wasn't going to sit down on his own and read a book. I think a lot of men are like that. 

post #9 of 9

In my view a lot of kinds of dangers are increased by being in the hospital, while others are being decreased. AROM, overuse of Pitocin, MRSA, "failure to wait" cesareans, decreased mobility increasing pain leading to painkillers, painkillers leading to complications, distractions and anxiety leading to failure to progress. If he wants a say, find some way to get him to understand both sides of this first. A documentary or class, or read him stuff from a book.

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